Annual Junior Auxiliary event sees more than 400 participants

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 27, 2011

Natchez — Approximately 400 people gathered early Saturday morning to run for the kids.

The 33rd annual River City Run for the Kids, sponsored by the Junior Auxiliary, included a 10K run/5K walk and a one-mile fun run for children.

“Health is the main reason I’m here, I just want to know I can do it,” said Natchez resident Becky Loyd.

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“My son and his wife are running the 10K, I’m just going to do the 5K walk. I had knee surgery five years ago, and this is my fourth year to participate. It’s a good charity that helps the community.”

Funds raised from the race registration fees will fun JA’s projects including work with Camp Sunshine, Angel Tree and Operation Back to School.

“Junior Auxiliary is a service organization. This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,”

race director and JA member Natalie Navarro said.

“We help local schools and we help kids. Also, if someone’s house burns down or if it’s just a family in need, we help. It’s all about families and children.”

Rachel Idom, helped with registration for the event and talked about the significance of the River City Run.

“This is one of the bigger charity events, we usually have about 300 people,” Idom said. “All of the money is dedicated to the schools.”

This year, Junior Auxiliary offered online registration for the event in hopes of increasing its participants from 310 last year to approximately 400 this year..

Registration was $20 for those who pre-registered and $25 for those who registered on race day. The kids One Mile Fun Run registration fee was $5.

“We sent applications to each school and which ever school has the most participants will receive $250 toward their P.E. program,” Navarro said.

The walkers and runners were a mix of athletes from Natchez and from out-of-town.

Kendall Golden, a Ridgeland Deputy fire chief who is originally from Natchez, participated in the River City Run, and he has been running races for more than 25 years.

“(In) 1985 was the first year I ran any type of race. I ran a half marathon for St. Jude back in December,” Golden said.

“This is a good race and anytime you’re doing it for charity makes it a lot of fun.”

The weather for this year’s River City Run was great and the participants were excited about it.

“It feels like a spring day, it’s a little cool but it feels really light. Once everyone starts moving it’ll feel great,” Golden said.

Navarro was thrilled with the weather too.

“This is the first year in a while we’ve had good weather,” Navarro said.